However you feel about red dot sights, shotguns are actually very good candidates for red dot sights. Think about it:
The typical shotgun sighting system is a bead sight. It’s just a bright brass or fiber optic bead on the muzzle of the shotgun that you use for gross aiming.
A red dot is basically the optical version of a bead sight. But a red dot is more precise because it simulates aligning a front and rear sight, rather than simply tracking your muzzle.
Also, you have three points of contact on a shotgun. So the challenges that some shooters experience with pistol red dots are less apparent. There’s just not that much downside to putting a red dot on a shotgun. Some might argue that there are no downsides to a red dot on a shotgun.
SPOILER—there are a lot of red dots out there, but the Burris SpeedBead Red Dot Reflex Sight is built specifically for shotguns. And it’s a good red dot. So it’s the overall best shotgun red dot because it’s purpose built for shotguns.
If you’d like to try something else—or maybe get a red dot that you could throw on a rifle or handgun as well—read on. We rounded up all the best shotgun red dots for you to check out.
Top Shotgun Red Dots on the Market Today
The Best Shotgun Red Dots Reviews: Faster than a Bead Sight
Our overall best shotgun red dot is up first. The other best shotgun red dots (one for each category) are presented in order of price.
The most affordable shotgun red dots are up first.
The least affordable, but coolest, red dots are near the end.
So head to the reviews that fit your budget.
1. Burris SpeedBead Red Dot Reflex Sight - Overall Best Shotgun Red Dot
As I mentioned in the intro, the Burris SpeedBead Red Dot Reflex Sight is built specifically for shotgun shooting. That doesn’t make it completely different from standard red dots. It just means it has some features that are handy for shotgun shooters.
First, the eye relief on this red dot is pretty long—from 3.5 to 4.5 inches (technically, the eye relief is unlimited). That way there’s no chance your red dot is going to pop you in the eye when you shoot.
Additionally, the dot is an 8 MOA dot. I like the slightly larger dot for shotgun shooting because the wider dot is a bit more representative of the patterning you’ll get at intermediate ranges.
It’s obviously not a perfect layover for the spread. But the larger dot makes it easier to shoot fast with your shotgun because it helps you shoot your shotgun like a shotgun, rather than shooting your shotgun like a rifle.
Lastly, this red dot is parallax free. I prefer parallax-free red dots because the dot is going to shake a bit because you’re humant. Parallax just makes that worse. So being parallax free helps you see a more stable dot.
There are more specs to talk about. But this red dot is a well-priced red dot that’s built specifically for shotguns. It has all the stuff you need to get the most precision with a red dot on your shotgun. But you may not want to use this red dot on your AR-15.
2. Vortex Crossfire 1x Red Dot Sight - Budget Shotgun Red Dot
Usually, Vortex Optics are value or high end optics. But the Vortex Crossfire 1x Red Dot Sight is actually a really affordable red dot. And it’s still a Vortex red dot. So you get the Vortex build quality and warranty.
The thing that stands out most about this red dot is that it has a very low profile mount. There’s a picatinny mount molded right into the bottom of the body. You can put it on a raised mount, if you prefer.
However, for most shotguns, you don’t need as much height on your red dot because the rifle stock brings the rib of the shotgun up nearer to your line of sight. So the default mounting solution on this red dot is actually very good for shotgun shooting.
Additionally, the eye relief is unlimited. This enables you to keep your red dot far enough from your eye to keep from bruising your eyebrow.
Then, this red dot is parallax free. It’s nice because it keeps the dot super stable, which means faster shooting.
My only complaint about his red dot is that the dot isn’t super clean. I have astigmatism. Most red dots look a bit sloppy to me. However, people without astigmatism say the dot could be crisper, too.
It’s not unusable by any stretch of the imagination. You’ll be able to shoot just fine with this red dot. And I suppose something has to give at this price point.
3. Holosun HS507C-V2 Red Dot Sight - Value Shotgun Red Dot Sight
One cool thing about shotguns is that it’s even easier to use a pistol red dot on a shotgun than it is to use a pistol red dot on a rifle (though a pistol red dot on a rifle is still totally doable).
The Holosun HS507C-V2 Red Dot Sight isn’t exactly a pistol red dot. But it’s like a pistol red dot with a picatinny mount.
There are two things about this sight that I really like:
The reticle is a 32 MOA reticle with a 2 MOA center dot. It’s nice because it gives you a way to estimate your spread and shoot faster, while still getting hits.
The other thing I like is the solar fail safe. It gives you up to 50,000 hours of battery life. That’s a LOT of battery life. And this red dot uses shake awake technology. So this red dot is a great option if you want a red dot for a home defense shotgun.
Additionally, this red dot is parallax free and has unlimited eye relief. That way you can keep your face safe. And you get a more stable dot for faster shooting.
This Holosun red dot is about middle-of-the-road in terms of price. The value is excellent. You can’t go wrong with this red dot.
4. Vortex Optics Razor Red Dot Sight - Versatile Shotgun Red Dot Sight
The Vortex Optics Razor Red Dot Sight is technically a pistol sight. However, it’s built well enough to handle shotgun recoil. So it works well on a shotgun.
This red dot can be purchased with a 6 MOA dot. That’s a nice wide dot, which is good for fast shotgun shooting.
Additionally, this red dot uses a fairly low profile mount. Right out of the box, it’s just about right for a shotgun. You most likely won’t need a riser mount or anything.
The red dot has high-intensity brightness that’s super visible, even in daylight. But you can also dial it down if you need something less intense for shooting at an indoor range or dimmer environments.
Additionally, the eye relief is unlimited. Also, this red dot is parallax free. So the dot is stable. And you can mount this red dot as far forward as you need to keep your face safe.
The only real downside to this red dot is that the viewing window is a tad small. Well, it’s wide. But it’s somewhat short. Personally, I’d rather have a tall window than a wide one, since you’re usually raising a shotgun from the ready.
But it’s still got a very bright dot that’s easy to find. And this red dot is a good option for use on a pistol or rifle. So it’s a good option if you can only afford one red dot.
5. Meprolight Mepro M21 1x30MM Day/Night Self Illuminated Reflex Sight - Self-Illuminated Shotgun Red Dot
The Meprolight Mepro M21 1x30MM Day/Night Self Illuminated Reflex Sight is one of the most underrated red dot sights on the market. It doesn’t quite solve all the problems associated with self-illuminated red dots. But it’s still a solid red dot sight.
As you might have guessed, this red dot is self-illuminated. This is great because it gives you an illuminated reticle in almost all light conditions, without a battery.
The low light illumination is actually really nice, because the reticle is lit by a tritium insert, rather than the fiber optic collector. It’s easily visible, but not ridiculously bright.
Some may find the illumination to be too soft. But it’s good enough for most shooters, in most low-light conditions.
In daylight the reticle is also super intense and easy to see. However, some may find the reticle to be a bit too bright during the day, similar to the struggles that some people have with the Trijicon ACOG.
But it’s still totally usable. And the red dot definitely gets your attention once it comes into your field of view.
Additionally, this red dot has a fairly low profile mount. The mount height is just about perfect for a shotgun. And it’s a quick detach mount.
This red dot takes up more rail space than a pistol red dot and about a picatinny rail slot more than some rifle red dots. So this red dot is a tad bulky.
However, it requires no batteries. And the bullseye reticle is excellent for aiming a shotgun.
Overall, this Meprolight red dot is an excellent all-purpose optic. And it’s an especially good option for a home defense shotgun, where you want your red dot to always work and you’ll rarely be shooting in daylight.
6. Trijicon 6.5 RMR Type 2 - High End Shotgun Red Dot
No article about red dots would be complete without some Trijicon hardware. The Trijicon 6.5 RMR Type 2 is one of the original red dot sights. It’s remarkably rugged. And it’s got a really strong feature set.
The main thing about this red dot is the battery life. Trijicon says that it lasts for up to 2 years of typical use. But it might last longer than that. We had one on one of our rental guns at the range that ran for about 4 years before we had to swap the battery.
I suspect that’s because this red dot has an auto-adjustment feature that adjusts the brightness based on the environmental light. So it will likely turn off if it’s dark. This can save a lot of battery life if you mount this red dot on a defensive shotgun.
If you crank the brightness up, though, the dot becomes very intense and easy to find.
Additionally, the 6.5 MOA dot is great for a shotgun because it gives you a slightly wider aiming point that matches up a little bit with shotgun patterning.
Back to my initial claim that this red dot is rugged. There’s a video somewhere out there on the internet of a Trijicon employee racking a pistol slide over and over using an RMR.
So we did the same thing with the RMR on our rental gun. We use the RMR to rack the slide off of everything, including people. Eventually one of the mounting screws sheared off. But the RMR never stopped working.
Short story: this Trijicon red dot will hold up to whatever you throw at it.
Yes, this red dot is a bit pricey. However, it’s super durable. The battery lasts for a really long time. And the dot is super easy to see. So the price is justified.
Join the Red Dot Revolution
There’s some dissent over whether red dots are a good idea for pistols, rifles, or shotguns. But, whatever drawbacks there are to running a red dot, those downsides are actually minimized on a shotgun.
And, depending on who you talk to, the downsides of a red dot are non-existent on a shotgun.
In short, a red dot on a shotgun is a good way to go.
So, if you need a solid red dot to up your shotgun game, get the Burris SpeedBead Red Dot Reflex Sight. It’s a good dot that’s specifically built for use on a shotgun.
Now that you know, stop running that plain old bead or fiber optic sight. Get a red dot sight and shoot better, in every aspect.
You can also check this best rated shotgun scopes review.